Whether you’re a die-hard iPhone fan, or a die-hard iPhone hater, one fact is inescapable: the iPhone 5 is real at last, and as usual, distinguishes itself most iNicely from the legions of Android clones desperately trying to attack Apple.
True iFicionados will have already seen Apple’s iPhone 5 keynote video which also goes into detail about the new iPhone 5-esque iPod Touch and redesigned iPod nano, but if you haven’t, it surely is “must-see iPhone launch TV”.
Although the iPhone 5 doesn’t sport NFC wireless mobile payment capabilities as part of its “Passbook” app, as was expected, it’s of little consequence to most people right now given that most EFTPOS/Credit card payment terminals in the vast majority of stores don’t support NFC just yet – however we’re sure to see NFC arrive in next year’s iPhone 5S – or whatever it ends up being called.
Beyond the lack of NFC, however, or a built-in wireless charging capability (and accompanying and likely bulky wireless charging stand), many of the other rumours ended up being right.
The larger screen runs all current iPhone apps designed for 3.5-inch screens by placing small black borders at the top and bottom (or left and right depending on whether you’re holding the phone vertically or horizontally), while Apple demonstrated that some third-party app makers had taken advantage of the extra space by delivering addition UI elements that had previously only been on iPad versions of iPhone apps.
The screen is also more colourful – and comes with the “in-plane” touch technology that helped Apple deliver an 18% thinner and 20% lighter iPhone 5 when compared to iPhone 4 and 4S models – something those who have been lucky enough to get Apple invites to San Francisco and the launch have reported was very definitely most nicely noticeable.
The rear camera is 8 megapixels as with the iPhone 4S, yet still manages a raft of improvements, from a sapphire crystal glass through to precision placement of the 5 internal lenses, 40% faster photo taking, massive improvements to photo quality, noise reduction and more – along with a brand new “panoramic” photo taking mode that is thankfully also coming to iPhone 4S owners who upgrade to iOS 6.
The front facing camera has finally been upgraded too, to 1.2 megapixels
Battery life has also been increased, as expected, despite the fact there’s a larger screen, a new A6 processor that promises 2x the performance and 2x faster graphics than the previous A5 processor – and new DC-HSDPA and LTE capabilities.
Apple hasn’t disclosed whether the A6 processor is a dual or quad-core processor, but online reports suggest it is a dual-core processor based on the ARM A15 design, one that reports say will be the first smartphone in the world to ship with what is, thus far, the world’s most advanced ARM chip designs.
Thankfully, Apple’s LTE implementation finally works outside of the US – including Australia – and as per Apple’s usual style, is delivered via a single chip on the motherboard, something that would have helped to keep LTE’s battery drain to a lower level than on phones with two-chip solutions (and giant, un-iPhone-like batteries).
That said, Apple has had to create three variants of the iPhone 5 for different parts of the world (and depending on the need for CDMA compatibility, or not), but each version still ensures global roaming capabilities across various networks for those iPhone 5 owners that travel.
iOS 6 is also a headline feature of the iPhone 5, something that iPhone 4S, 4, 3GS, iPad 2, new iPad and 4th-gen iPod Touch owners can download starting September 19 (US time, presumably meaning September 20th for Aussies).
It delivers Apple’s own Maps replacement, complete with the long-awaited native turn-by-turn navigation (and new “flyover” capabilities to add to satellite imagery), Passbook, Facebook integration, new call handling capabilities, a nice big Siri upgrade and plenty more.
Aside from the new “EarPod” headphones that promise to be the best ear-friendly headphones ever created, while delivering vastly better sound that Apple’s traditional headphones, we also saw Apple’s new “Lightning” dock connector.
Able to be plugged in “either way”, which finally eliminates the minor hassle of having to plug the dock connector in the right way up, Apple’s “Lightning” dock connector promises faster transfer speeds (while having made no mention of USB 3.0 compatibility), helps deliver a thinner iPhone and continues the theme Apple created through the “Thunderbolt” socket – not that the iPhone 5 has Thunderbolt capabilities.
There is a 30-pin to Lightning dock connector available to purchase separately which will allow 30-pin dock connector equipped devices to connect to the iPhone 5’s Lightning port, although there’s no word yet on how well this will integrate with devices that expected to plug into a recessed slot.
That said, it will certainly create a massive boom in new iPhone accessory sales.
Although some bloggers have suggested the iPhone 5 is “just” a stretched out iPhone 4S, it’s clear that, as Apple stated, it truly has improved every single aspect of the iPhone 5, and that this iPhone really is a very desirable next-gen model – whether you’ve got an iPhone 4S or skipped it in the wait for the iPhone 5’s arrival.
It’s an even bigger jump in performance and quality from the iPhone 4 and 3GS models, so for those who truly have held out for quite some time, the iPhone 5 is surely the iPhone that those iOwners have been waiting for.
There’s still more features to go on about – a third microphone, noice cancellation improvements, Facetime over 3G (which is coming to the iPhone 4S as well), the same pricing as the iPhone 4S, bottom facing headphone socket (as rumoured), even better video stabilisation, 802.11n support for 2.4 and 5GHz networks, the ability to take photos while recording video – and plenty more.
But for now, we’ll leave some of that for future articles, and we’ll end with the words of Apple’s Phil Schiller: “iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that we’ve ever created. We’ve packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast A6 chip, ultrafast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it.”
We think they’ll love it too, and will surely be Apple’s fastest selling iPhone yet, while only generating even more anticipation for the highly anticipated iPad Mini, let alone new iMacs – something we’ll hopefully hear plenty more about next month!